The latest Open Doors report outlined a tragic moment for Christians around the world. One Christian out of seven is persecuted for his faith. In numbers, there are 360 million people who suffer abuse and discrimination. 5,621 faithful are killed, fifteen a day. On the other hand, 2,110 Churches have been attacked, half of which in China, 4,542 faithful arrested and 5,259 kidnapped. Almost 30 thousand those attacked. 100 countries were monitored and persecution increased in absolute terms. In 76 there was a high, very high or extreme level of persecution. The level of violence and discrimination increased from 3019 points in 2014 to 3683 in 2023.
Tragic numbers but substantially similar to those of last year. The score of the indicators in the fifty countries at risk worsens. The worst place to profess the Christian faith is North Korea, last year it was Afghanistan. The ten worst countries from this point of view are: North Korea, Somalia, Yemen, Eritrea, Libya, Nigeria, Pakistan, Iran, Afghanistan and Sudan. Discrimination at work, for access to services such as health and education, denial of aid and bureaucracy that prevents the construction of places of worship are the main retaliations against them.
Afghanistan today ranks ninth and not because it has become a more liberal country but only because most of the Christians present here have fled and the few who remain are forced to live in hiding. Here churches are continually destroyed and Christians arrested. Short liturgies for a Church forced to remain in the shadows due to the repression and violence of the Taliban. Here conversion from Islam to another religion is punished with the death penalty.
The place where the repression is even bloodier and more worrying is sub-Saharan Africa. Nigeria is the worst nation in terms of numbers: 5,014 Christians were killed. The causes are varied, the main one being the terrorism of Boko Haram and Iswap in the North. A crucial role, however, is also played by the Fulani shepherds who attack and kill the Christian agricultural populations. Without forgetting the armed gangs who kidnap the faithful for ransom. In Nigeria, last year, there was one of the harshest attacks against Christians. On the day of Pentecost, armed men entered the church of St. Francis, in the diocese of Ondo and killed 40 faithful during mass. More recently in eastern Congo, in North Kivu, a priest was burned alive. A bomb killed another 14 people in the church, also in Nigeria. Of the 5,259 abducted Christians, almost 5,000 took place in Nigeria, Mozambique and Congo.
The situation is no different also in Asia. Two out of five Christians are persecuted. In India, the Hindu government of Narendra Modi has exponentially reduced the rights of members of other faiths: 1,750 Christians have been arrested without trial. On the other hand, the harassment and discrimination that take place at school, at work and in all public places cannot be quantified. The same happens in the Sahel and in the Middle East. Numbers that do not correspond to reality due to the fact that no reports have been made due to cultural or social reasons concern Christian women: 2 thousand rapes and 717 forced marriages.
It is there for all to see that what is happening, and has been happening for decades now, among Christians around the world is appalling. And it has been repeating itself for so long that it no longer has the characteristics of an emergency. The Christian message is universal and has no borders imposed by bureaucracies but is based on community values, the most important of which is love: selfless love towards one’s neighbor and love towards oneself, not with a selfish meaning. Christianity has marked and continues to inexorably mark the destiny of the West and the development of its civilization in terms of ethics, law and sociality. The task of conservatives is to preserve and protect those who share a value system similar to ours even if on the other side of the world. What is the most effective means of countering repression in certain countries is difficult to say. What is certain, however, is that Europe has the duty to start a battle, obviously non-violent unlike many governments in the world against the Christians, of civilization. In defense of his civilization.